Ambassador Program Continues To Help Impact Patients' Lives
Walking through the entrance to a hospital can be an emotional experience. That’s one reason the volunteer Ambassadors at Memorial Hospital of Converse County are an integral part of a positive experience for patients and visitors to the hospital.
Providing information, assistance and emotional support to all, the Ambassador program is an extension of the hospital’s focus on optimizing the patient experience, a tenet that defines daily operations.
“We’re the first person they see when they come in, and sometimes you can just tell by the way some people look that they’re the most important person we’ll see that day and we need to help them first,” said Ambassador Lea Ann Thompson. “We try to make them feel comfortable and help them as much as we can. That’s our job.”
Born from the existing volunteer program in 2013 to better serve the needs of the community, the Ambassadors run a phone line, coordinate transportation for patients and families to appointments, assist with loading and unloading patients curbside at the hospital, and selflessly devote their time to ensure the hospital succeeds in its mission of providing excellent care with compassion.
One way hospital Ambassadors impact the lives of patients is through the Care Ride Program that provides transportation not only around the hospital campus and the town of Douglas but routinely to Casper to transport patients to Rocky Mountain Oncology. In 2017, hospital ambassadors volunteered over 2,600 hours and drove 5,800 miles providing free transportation for 1,040 appointments. It was during this time they became aware that one of their vehicles was nearing retirement.
Working with the Converse County Hospital Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to enhance the services, programs and patient care experience along with donations from Short Powerline Service, TDS Construction and Drone King USA allowed the hospital to add another all-wheel drive vehicle to the fleet in 2018, making the program more effective and providing an essential resource to allow the Ambassadors to maintain a high standard or care for those in need.
While patients appear to be the primary recipients of goodwill from the Ambassador program, It’s not only patients benefiting from the arrangement. The volunteers get as much back from the people they serve.
“Being an Ambassador makes you feel so fulfilled,” said Lea Ann. “You can kind of give back, and to help people when they might not be having their best day when they come here… to make them feel comfortable and to know they’re in a good place with fabulous doctors and facilities just makes you feel good. It’s my happy place.”
Having a warm, welcoming attitude towards patients is an essential part of succeeding as an Ambassador along with being proactive and understanding how best to support people emotional, intimidated or confused at the hospital.
“You can’t just sit here waiting for someone to ask you for something,” said a volunteer. “If someone looks like they need help then, that’s what we’re here for. Even when I was a little kid my dad told me, “I’ve never met a stranger,” and I said, “No, there’s just a world of people waiting to talk to me.”
With over 75 years as a pillar of the Converse County healthcare system, it’s the little things that differentiate Memorial Hospital from typical hospitals and inspire the organization to reach its goal of becoming “The Best Healthcare Organization in Wyoming.”
Want to find out more information or see how you can help? Reach out to Frank Wiederrecht our Chief Culture Officer by clicking here!